Cornerback Morris Claiborne showed little regret for the critical pass interference penalty that contributed to the Cowboys' 17-16 loss to the Chiefs Sunday.
On third and 10 with 2:28 left in the game, Claiborne was flagged on an attempt to receiver Donnie Avery, who would have been short of the first down even if he caught the ball. It extended the Chiefs drive and prevented the Cowboys from getting the ball back in time to mount a comeback.
Claiborne questioned the call by the official but didn't question his decision to make an aggressive play on the ball in that situation.
"It ain't how we play," Claiborne said after the game. "When you're out there at corner you’re not trying to give up on nothing, you want to be aggressive and that was an opportunity I thought to make a play and be aggressive and they just called a PI."
Cowboys Jason Garrett had a different take on the play after reviewing the film on Monday. He said it was a legitimate penalty and Claiborne needs to show more poise in that situation.
“Obviously, we don’t want him to be that aggressive," Garrett said. I think that call was a legitimate one. He grabbed him a little bit and I think that call was the right one. From a technical standpoint, you just have to have a little more poise in that situation. One of Mo’s strengths as a corner is he does have poise. That’s why he makes so many plays on the ball. He doesn’t panic when the ball’s in the air, and has good body control when he’s dealing with the receiver and the ball. This particular time, he didn’t do that. He just got a little aggressive and really didn’t need to do that, and they made the right call.”
Garrett's comment led to a further discussion regarding Claiborne's lack of plays on the ball since the Cowboys moved up eight spots to take him with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft. He has just eight pass deflections and one interception in 17 games with the Cowboys.
Garrett said he shows it in practice but he needs to do it in games.
“That was a big part of his evaluation coming out of school is he made a lot of plays on the ball and he’s just a natural catcher," Garrett said. "You see it in practice, you’d like to see it more in games. That really hasn’t been an issue. He does have a knack for the football, and we think that’s a good thing. He naturally catches the ball and his relationship with the receiver is typically pretty good. He has long arms and good hands and is able to make plays on the ball. Obviously, we want to see more of those in ball games.”